Updated: 09/10/17 : 11:55:49
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Don’t Bug Me Head lice – Detection Comb Hero to the Rescue

Children are settled back at school after the summer break and it is likely that some will get head lice infection. It spreads easily amongst children as they hold their heads close together. Like any infection, it’s a nuisance, but it is normal and should not cause anxiety or embarrassment to children or parents.  

HSE Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan & Sligo) are launching a head lice campaign to give parents and others e.g. schools, GP and pharmacy, clear information on how to control this infection. Leaflets for parents give quick tips on how to wet-comb a child’s hair and also the names of the lotions that should be used if needed. There is also a poster and a fun comic strip for children, which has interesting facts about head lice and also introduces a new Super-Hero, ‘Detection Comb Hero’, whose mission it is to check each child’s hair once a week and use his special lotion if there is an infection.

Parents are busy and might welcome the idea that spraying hair with a repellent or using a new shampoo will prevent head lice, but there is not evidence that either will work. The single most important thing parents can do is put a new hygiene routine in place; children already know that ‘teeth get brushed morning and night’, and now we need to spread the word that ‘hair gets wet-combed once a week’. This may take longer in the short term, but will pay off in less distress for the child.

There are a number of products sold for the treatment of head lice; however the HSE only recommends those that have been shown to work (names are on the parent leaflet). The treatment should only be used if a living louse is seen. If so, check all close family members also. Apply the lotion treatment and always repeat it one week later. As with all infections, talk to your GP, nurse or pharmacist if the infection is not going away.

Let’s spread the word to stop the spread of lice.

Leaflets are available to download on the HSE website -  http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/child/Head-Lice/.

Photo: Pupils at Knockminna national School, Ballymote along with Teacher Ms Lisa Mc Donagh (right) and Ms Anne Keaney, HSE School Public Health Nurse (back, left)